Stockwell Day makes a fool of Mark Holland
Students of Canadian political history may well remember a Liberal by the name of Jack Pickersgill.
Saddled with delusions of potency, Pickersgill had such a penchant for self-humiliation that John Diefenbaker was reportedly able to use his name as a punch line for nearly any joke he wanted.
Marky Holland, the Liberal MP for Ajax-Pickering, has clearly become the heir to the throne of self-humiliating Liberal buffoonery. From complaining about an income trust fraud investigation that rendered a conviction to parading around documents "lost" by the Conservative Party which were in fact clearly marked for delivery by House of Commons staff, Holland always has his six-shooter at the ready -- and it's always aimed at his own foot.
Even on matters that others would consider to be slam-dunk triumphs, Holland has a unique gift for ineptitude. As a case in point, one should consider the recent "controversy" surrounding Treasury Board Presdient Stockwell Day explaining the government's decision to spend billions of taxpayer dollars building new prisons.
The tale began at a Stockwell Day news conference, when a reporter asked Day how the Stephen Harper government's commitment to eliminating the deficit could be trusted as the government spends billions of dollars building prisons even as Canada's official crime rate shrinks.
"People simply aren't reporting the same way they used to," Day explained. "I'm saying one statistic of many that concerns us is the amount of crimes that go unreported. Those numbers are alarming and it shows that we can't take a liberal view to crime which is, some would suggest, that it is barely happening at all."
"There are too many situations of criminal activity that are alarming to our citizens, and we intend to deal with that," he added.
With Day questioning Canada's crime statistics, Marky Holland must have thought he'd hit paydirt.
He has suggested that the Stephen Harper government "doesn't have any respect for facts."
"You don't make up statistics to try to scare people and use crime as a wedge issue," Holland added.
Unfortunately for Holland, these statistics are far from made up, and it seems to be Holland himself who has no respect for facts.
As John Ivison points out, the surveys Day refers to are very much real. In fact, through the Crime Victimization survey -- a self-report survey in which Canadians report crimes they have been a victim of -- the period of 1991-2004 was marked by a decline in the reporting of crime to police.
In 1991, 42% of crimes were actually reported to police. In 1999, that figure was 37%. In 2004, that figure was 34%.
In other words, Canada's shrinking crime rates aren't the result of any kind of successful preventative program by the government. They've been the result of fewer and fewer Canadians reporting crime to police.
In the wake of such a revelation, one may want to ask the question: who is really playing the game of wedge politics, and who is being responsive to the needs oc Canadians? Is it Stockwell Day and the Conservative Party? Or is it Mark Holland and the Liberal Party?
Another story provides the answer. The Conservative government has more recently moved to add offences related to illegal organized gambling, prostitution and drug trafficking to Canada's list of "serious offences".
Surprise, surprise, Holland is against it.
"You have a government that's entire solution -- its whole tool kit -- is all focused just on locking people up. All the things that we know work, we know save money, save lives ... they ignore," Holland complained. "This government, any time it gets into trouble, any time there's a situation where the water starts getting very hot for them politically, starts dumping on the table a rash of crime bills and more often than not, they're not thought through."
The problem for Holland is that some of the Liberal Party policies -- such as the long-gun registry -- can not only not be shown to have saved a single life, but can be shown to have failed to save lives.
The Liberal Party record on crime is unabashedly a failure. One hardly expects Holland to admit it.
Fortunately, the admission of the modern Liberal Party's answer to Jack Pickersgill isn't necessary in order for this fact to be true.
Until Mark Holland musters the honesty and dignity to admit to this, few would blame Stockwell Day if he were to simply take to using Holland as the punchline for virtually any joke of his choosing.
Holland's certainly accomplishing that well enough on his own.